Just because you love it doesn't mean they will
|Curtis' girls terrorizing the local brookies|
|A buddy's son "Curt" puts me on fish at 7 years old|
Several years ago I decided to take my kids out to the community pond on my little 13' aluminum boat. It was going to be the perfect afternoon fishing trip because the bass and bluegill were eating. Well, about 10 minutes in, Seth says "I'm bored Dad. Can I go home." Then Audrey chimes in "Can I play with your phone." Needless to say, that trip lasted about an hour and it was a LONG time before I took them out again.
Since that trip in the boat, I really had to get creative to find ways to make fishing fun for my kids. Here are some tips that have worked for me.
|Seth's big kitty|
2- Try to make sure the fishing will be good - Now... I know that this is kind of a given, but your 8 year old probably wont appreciate going to the river and changing flies 15 times until you find that one Baetis pattern that will work. Scout out a fishery that is low on the technical side, and high on the fish quantity side. I'd encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to species too. Bluegill and Crappie are good kid fish. Kids don't care if you are catching pristine Colorado River Cutthroats or big slimy catfish. As long as it pulls, they will dig it.
3- Fly fishing only? - This is the part where elitism gets thrown out the window. There is a time and a place for bobbers and worms, and this place typically has to do with getting kids into fish. On a recent trip with the family on the upgraded bass boat we had a plan, and it turned out much better than expected. I had
|Audrey and her huge catfish|
4- Practice with them - There isn't much that will frustrate a kid than constantly messing with line tangles and not being able to present the fly (worm or lure) to the fish. Something that will help is to practice casting, tying knots, landing fish, etc. Audrey is my fly fisher, and she can cast a fly rod moderately well - well
|Mia's Crappie in one hand, a granola bar in the other hand|
5- Consider taking one kid at a time - I have three kids, and if the is ever a constant with them - it's that they will fight if they are cooped up with each other for too long. I'll take all of the kids if my wife comes along because she is another enforcer, but if I'm headed out alone I like to take one kid at time. They take turns coming with me on short trips, and it truly is a special time to spend talking to them without any other distractions around. The other kids are typically OK with it (except for Mia the boss) because they know that their turn is coming soon.
Again, these are just my opinions and I have had to get fairly creative to get my kids on the water, but it's what works for me. What's most important about this whole article is that you plant a positive "fishing" seed in your kids, so that it will grow into something that they truly love. We all had to go through our progressions in fishing, so we shouldn't expect our kids to automatically appreciate fishing like we do, well, at least until they are about 10 ;)
What are some of the things you all do to make kid fishing more enjoyable?